Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Chinese Dust Found Atop French Alps

16.05.2003


Dust Storm over China’s Taklimakan Desert, on April 14, 2002, from the MODIS Instrument on NASA’s Terra Satellite


Dust from China’s Takla-Makan desert traveled more than 20,000 kilometers [12,000 miles] in about two weeks, crossing the Pacific Ocean, North America, and the Atlantic Ocean, before settling atop the French Alps. Chinese dust plumes had been known to reach North America and even Greenland, but had never before been reported in Europe.

An international team of scientists, using atmospheric computer models, studied dust that traveled the globe from February 25 to March 7, 1990. Their findings are published in a paper authored by Francis E. Grousset of Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in Palisades, New York, and the University of Bordeaux I in France, and colleagues. It appears in Geophysical Research Letters, published by the American Geophysical Union.

Research conducted in 1994 showed that over the 20 preceding years, a score of red dust events coated the snow cover in the Alps and Pyrenees mountains. The dust that topped these European mountain ranges was sampled and stored for comparison with dust from various parts of the world. Scientists analyze the minerals and composition of certain distinctive elements of the dust, especially neodymium, to determine its origin.



The researchers used the Global Ozone Chemistry Aerosol Radiation Transport (GOCART) model, which analyzes wind, soil moisture, and surface characteristics to simulate the generation and transport of dust. Meteorological information was taken from the NASA Goddard Earth Observing System Data Assimilation System (GEOS DAS). The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Air Resources Laboratory (ARL) showed the paths of air masses as they moved around the world from the time the dust was swept into the atmosphere to the time it settled on the mountaintops.

Grousset and his colleagues found several examples of dust collected in southern France that clearly originated from North African sources. The North Africa-to-Europe dust path was already well known. But data analyzed by the NASA and NOAA instruments independently of each other strongly suggested that some of the Alpine dust originated in a huge dust storm in western China, whose transport across two oceans and the North American continent to Europe had not previously been documented.

The origin and final location of dust are important to help determine any effects from heavy metal or fungal, bacterial, or viral pollution that may be associated with it. Previous studies have indicated, for example, that fungi found in African dust causes Sea Fan disease in Mediterranean coral reefs. The National Institute of Health’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases has identified airborne dust as the primary source of allergic stress worldwide.

The research was funded mainly by France’s National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS). Additional support was provided by NASA and the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Harvey Leifert, Rob Gutro | AGU / NASA
Further information:
http://www.agu.org/sci_soc/prrl/prrl0311.html
http://www.gsfc.nasa.gov/topstory/2003/0427sandalps.html

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht The melting ice makes the sea around Greenland less saline
16.10.2017 | Aarhus University

nachricht WSU researchers document one of planet's largest volcanic eruptions
12.10.2017 | Washington State University

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

Im Focus: New nanomaterial can extract hydrogen fuel from seawater

Hybrid material converts more sunlight and can weather seawater's harsh conditions

It's possible to produce hydrogen to power fuel cells by extracting the gas from seawater, but the electricity required to do it makes the process costly. UCF...

Im Focus: Small collisions make big impact on Mercury's thin atmosphere

Mercury, our smallest planetary neighbor, has very little to call an atmosphere, but it does have a strange weather pattern: morning micro-meteor showers.

Recent modeling along with previously published results from NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft -- short for Mercury Surface, Space Environment, Geochemistry and...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

Conference Week RRR2017 on Renewable Resources from Wet and Rewetted Peatlands

28.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A single photon reveals quantum entanglement of 16 million atoms

16.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

The melting ice makes the sea around Greenland less saline

16.10.2017 | Earth Sciences

On the generation of solar spicules and Alfvenic waves

16.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>